The Lake Name
CHARGOGGAGOGGMANCHAUGGAGOGGCHAUBUNAGUNGAMAUGG is a 45-letter name for this body of water that is often
cited as the longest place name in the United States and one of the longest in the world.
Today, "Webster Lake" may be the name most used, but some (including many residents of Webster),
take pride in reeling off the longer versions.
Many names have been used to refer to the lake, changing over time. For examples, see the table in Macek and Morrison, p. 73 (Reference 1 below). Other names for the lake sometimes include only one or two parts of the longer versions of the name (with spelling differences). On Google Earth, the lake is referred to as "Lake Chaubunagungamaug" but on Google Maps, the 45 letter name listed at the top of this page is used (which has "chaubunagungamaugg" at the end of the name).
The popular, but inaccurate, translation of the lake name is: “You fish on your side, I fish on my side, and nobody fishes in the middle." According to two books (1,2) and an article (3), this translation is a result of a hoax or a joke by Larry Daly, an editor of the Webster Times sometime around the 1920's. A more accurate translation seems to be something like: "English knifemen and Nipmuc Indians at the Border or Neutral Fishing Place" or "Englishmen at Manchaug at the Fishing Place at the Boundary." See the references for a more complete discussion.
There is also some controversy about the spelling of the name. The previous WLA website had a different (but common) spelling, with an additional syllable and 49 letters. The blue-print-like "Plan of Lake CHARGOGGAGOGGMANCHAUGAGOGGCHAUBUNAGUNGAMAUGG" (which is displayed on many walls in the area) has 44 letters in the name. The spelling used on this site is the same as that on the "Welcome to WEBSTER, MA" sign coming into town from the south on Thompson Road.
(Webster: Published by Paul J. Macek and James R. Morrison, 2000)
2. John J. Mrazik, Carla Manzi, James J. Manzi, Images of America: Webster, (Charleston SC, Arcadia Publishing, 2005)
3. OldeWebster.com, History of Lake Chargoggagoggmanchauggagoggchaubunagungamaugg,
From The Webster TIMES Centennial Anniversary Issue, 1859-1959.